Laszlo Systems' OpenLaszlo Platform Ushers in a "Digital Life" Application Suite
"Unadorned DHTML" Was Never Going to Be Enough, Founder & CTO David Temkin Explains

See David Temkin in the 'Real-World AJAX' (San Jose) "AJAX Power Panel"

When, in April 2004, Laszlo Systems founder David Temkin (pictured) started up his blog, he devoted his very first posts to explaining the difference between Laszlo and the new Flex server - from what was then Macromedia.

"Laszlo has been getting a lot of attention for its product of late, thanks in part to Macromedia's Monday announcement of its Flex presentation server," (Temkin was writing April 2, 2004).

He continued:

"I thought I'd use my first blog entry to set some context around Laszlo, and explain how, in contrast to Flex, Laszlo offers a complete, self-contained platform for creating rich Internet applications (RIAs)."


David Temkin during his televised "Real-Wolrd AJAX" Power Panel discussion, with Jesse James Garrett

Temkin then went on to "position" Laszlo Systems itself in the overall i-Technology space: "As a company, Laszlo is totally focused on RIAs. We are not about designer tools; we are not about animation and advertising. We think the Web is on the verge of a sea change, with the dual drivers of broadband and Web services, and we see an XML-based framework for RIAs as essential to this transition.

Since late 2000, Laszlo has been single-mindedly focused on delivering a rationalized platform for high-quality interactivity on the open Web. We devised a platform for doing this that incorporates a J2EE-based presentation server, an XML language (LZX) for specifying the application's layout, look, behavior, and data binding; and a server-based compiler which compiles the XML source into a format which works in just about every Web browser today.

At the time, the obvious choice for our client target would have been Java. But that wouldn't have delivered the ubiquity that customers need. So, instead, we chose to target the Flash 5 (and later) player from Macromedia. The player is ubiquitously distributed and it has reliable rendering and strong cross-platform compatibility."


"Real-World AJAX" power panelists after the event which was streamed by more than 17,000 viewers

This cross-platform aspect was what mattered most to Temkin then, and still matters most today, two years on.

It took only 18 months for Temkin's company to go live with a real, complex application built on its OpenLaszlo platform: Laszlo Mail. Though the application itself wasn't open source, parts of it were contributed to the OpenLaszlo project.

OpenLaszlo, now in its third release, is an open source platform for developing Web applications that are as feature-rich and robust as traditional client-based programs yet do not require the installation of any new software. Worldwide adoption of the platform spans virtually all market sectors -- including enterprise, government, education and business-to-consumer.

OpenLaszlo has also been the basis of several strategic partnerships for the Company, including one with IBM involving the development of an integrated development environment (IDE) for Laszlo, which has been jointly contributed to the Eclipse Foundation.

Laszlo very recently revealed that by the end of this year developers using OpenLaszlo will have the option to deploy their applications in Dynamic HTML (DHTML), in addition to the Flash runtime option that is currently available. Also, under a new agreement between Laszlo and the Dojo Foundation, the Dojo Toolkit will be licensed for use in Laszlo's open source projects and Laszlo, in turn, will contribute libraries to the Dojo Foundation.

"We are pleased that Laszlo is so actively supporting non-proprietary development solutions and establishing their commitment to the future of Ajax, as evidenced by today's announcement," said Alex Russell, co-founder of the Dojo Toolkit. "We're looking forward to working together on Laszlo's DHTML runtime now, and also towards a more integrated Ajax solution for Web application developers in the future."

Let's give the last word to David Temkin.

"This is what open source is all about," he said: 

"Combining communities and resources in order to enable a better solution and foster lasting change. We're excited to add Dojo to our growing list of supporters and couldn't ask for a better partner as we continue to broaden OpenLaszlo's unified runtimes and development capabilities."

Both Laszlo and Dojo are founding members of the Open Ajax technology collaboration, which they established along with industry titans IBM, Oracle, BEA, RedHat, Yahoo!, Google and others earlier this year.

About RIA News Desk
Ever since Google popularized a smarter, more responsive and interactive Web experience by using AJAX (Asynchronous JavaScript + XML) for its Google Maps & Gmail applications, SYS-CON's RIA News Desk has been covering every aspect of Rich Internet Applications and those creating and deploying them. If you have breaking RIA news, please send it to RIA@sys-con.com to share your product and company news coverage with AJAXWorld readers.

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http://www.openlaszlo.org/

Open Laszlo - where can we download?

Great piece!

So just how central is AJAX to OpenLaszlo??

So Laszlo has two distinct parts to its business - the OpenLaszlo platform and its Digital Life applications. Are they mutually reinforcing or do they compete in some way? I'm confused...